Dec 30, 2013
By Andy Johnson
After two decades and several year’s of negotiations, half of a historic Auschwitz-Birkenau barracks that was on loan to the U.S. has been returned to Poland.
The Nazi barracks was one of the main items at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, which wanted the lease extended. However, Poland asked for it back after adopting new regulations ten year’s ago that limit the loan of all historical and art works to a maximum of five years. The wooden structure arrived back on Polish soil Sunday. According to the museum’s director, the effort to reassemble the barracks at its original location indicates Poland’s determination to be a guardian to the authenticity and integrity of the world’s largest Holocaust memorial. Barracks No. 30 is the only one left of the wooden barracks that were built before September 1943 at the so-called family camp, where the Germans brought Jews from the Theresienstadt ghetto across Poland’s southern border. It housed hospital wards for women and children. Between 1940 and 1945, the Nazis killed some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.